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''Soylent Green Is People''

102,389 views
71% · Drama · 1973 · English

This is the year 2022. Overcrowding, pollution, and resource depletion have reduced society's leaders to finding food for the teeming masses. The answer is Soylent Green - an artificial nourishment whose actual ingredients are not known by the public. Thorn is the tough homicide detective who stumbles onto the secret so terrifying no one would dare believe him.

  • Director
    Richard Fleischer
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Published on Feb 19, 2013

Soylent Green is a 1973 American science fiction film directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Charlton Heston and, in his final film, Edward G. Robinson. The film overlays the police procedural and science fiction genres as it depicts the investigation into the murder of a wealthy businessman in a dystopian future suffering from pollution, overpopulation, depleted resources, poverty, dying oceans, and a hot climate due to the greenhouse effect. Much of the population survives on processed food rations, including "soylent green".

The film, which is loosely based upon the 1966 science fiction novel Make Room! Make Room!, by Harry Harrison, won the Nebula Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film in 1973.


Plot

In 2022, with 40 million people in New York City alone, housing is dilapidated and overcrowded; homeless people fill the streets and food is scarce; and most of the population survives on rations produced by the Soylent Corporation, whereof the newest product is Soylent Green, a green wafer advertised to contain "high-energy plankton", more nutritious and palatable than its predecessors "Red" and "Yellow", but in short supply.

New York City Police Department detective Robert Thorn lives with his aged friend Solomon "Sol" Roth, a former scholar who helps Thorn's investigations. While investigating the murder of William R. Simonson, a director of the Soylent Corporation, Thorn questions Shirl, a concubine (referred to as "furniture"), and Tab Fielding, Simonson's bodyguard, who, when the murder took place, was escorting Shirl to a store selling meat "under the counter" for Simonson. Thorn later gives Roth the Soylent Oceanographic Survey Report, 2015 to 2019 found in Simonson's apartment. At the police station, Thorn tells his lieutenant (Hatcher) that he suspects an assassination: nothing was stolen from the apartment, its sophisticated alarm and security cameras failed to detect the intruder, and Simonson's bodyguard was conveniently absent. Continuing his investigation, Thorn visits Fielding's apartment and questions Fielding's concubine, Martha, helping himself to a teaspoon of strawberry jam, later identified by Roth as too great a luxury for the concubine of a bodyguard. Under questioning, Shirl reveals that Simonson became troubled in the days before his death. Thorn questions a Catholic priest Simonson had visited, but the priest at first fails to remember Simonson and is later unable to describe the confession. Fielding later murders the priest to silence him.

New York Governor Joseph Santini, once Simonson's partner in a high-profile law firm, orders the investigation closed, but Thorn disobeys and the Soylent Corporation dispatches Simonson's murderer to kill Thorn. He tracks Thorn to a ration-distribution where police officers are providing security. When the Soylent Green there is exhausted and the crowd riots, the assassin tries to kill Thorn during the confusion, but is crushed by a riot-control vehicle.

Roth takes Soylent's oceanographic reports to a like-minded group of researchers known as the Exchange, who agree that the oceans no longer produce the plankton from which Soylent Green is reputedly made, and conclude it is made from human remains. Unable to live with this discovery, Roth seeks assisted suicide at a government clinic. Thorn rushes to stop him, but arrives too late, and is thereafter mesmerized by the euthanasia's visual and auditory display of forests, wild animals, rivers, and ocean life now extinct. Under the influence of a lethal drug, Roth tells Thorn his discovery and begs him to expose the truth. To this end, Thorn stows himself aboard a garbage truck to the disposal-center, where he sees human corpses converted into Soylent Green. Returning to make his report, he is ambushed by Fielding and others; and having failed to summon his colleagues, converses with Shirl before connected to Hatcher. Thorn then retreats into a cathedral filled with homeless people, where he kills Fielding but is seriously injured. When the police arrive, Thorn urges Hatcher to spread the word that "Soylent Green is people!".

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